By John Miller (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
When Monty Johal and Jordan Walton stepped foot in Glendale High School for the first time, they instantly became go-to players.
In their freshman season two years ago, Johal scored 332 points and Walton added 398—a new record for most points scored by a Missouri freshman.
Last December, in his sophomore season, Walton became the eighth fastest Glendale player in history to reach 500 points in 35 games. Johal scored his 500th point in his 36th game.
Johal averaged 25 points and Walton added 15.8 points for the Falcons last year, leading the team to a 19-10 record and a Class 4 quarterfinal appearance. The team won its first district title since 2006, thanks in part to Walton, who drilled a half-court buzzer-beater at the end of the first overtime against Aurora in the district championship game. Only a 10-point loss to Jefferson City Helias in the quarterfinals prevented Glendale from reaching the state final four for the first time since 1990.
With Glendale taking a step up into Class 5 this season, the competition level in postseason play should be even more challenging. But Glendale coach Brian McTague believes his team has the tools to have a successful season.
“I like our team a lot,” said McTague, who has a 49-34 record in three years at Glendale. “We aren’t very big, but we do a lot of things well. We should be explosive offensively and will look to pressure people defensively. We’re excited to get started.”
The team graduated four seniors from last year, guards Zach Helm and Tristan Baker and forwards Will Sachs and Seth Flattery. “Our senior class last year bought into everything we needed to do to be successful,” McTague said. “They sacrificed some offense to our younger kids and really locked in defensively. Of our 87 drawn charges, our seniors took 73.”
The team isn’t big—the tallest player is 6-foot-3—but the Falcons are well accustomed to playing a quick, scrappy game. The players on their roster should fit that style of play.
Along with Johal and Walton, the Falcons also return senior guard Josh Call. “Josh is a big-time competitor who only cares about winning,” said McTague of Call, who is one of the main goal-scorers on the Falcons soccer team, as well. “Josh will anchor our defense.
Also returning is junior guard Garrett Freeman, who averaged 3.3 points per game last year. “Garrett is a savvy guard that understands how to play,” McTague said. “He’s a nice competitor that can make open shots.”
Newcomers to the team include juniors Jaxon Davis, Dylan Metiver, Adam Hirsch and Tyler Johnson, as well as sophomore Winston Quinn.
But the Falcons play will revolve around Johal and Walton, who both could eclipse the school record of 1,583 points set by Spud Harbour (2003-2007) before they graduate. Johal is 528 points away. Walton is 728.
“Monty and Jordan are both very skilled,” McTague said. “Monty is one of the top offensive players in the state and will be a difference maker on defense this year, as well. Jordan can score from anywhere on the court. He gets better every year.”